Sunday, April 17, 2011
Palm Sunday

  • Troparion of Lazarus (Tone1)
O Christ God, when thou didst raise Lazarus from the dead, before thy passion, did confirm the universal resurrection.
Wherefore, we like Babes carry the palms of triumph and victory, and cry unto thee, O Vanquisher of death: Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he that cometh in the Name of the Lord.

  • Troparion of Palm Sunday (Tone 4)
O Christ God, when we were buried with Thee in Baptism, we became deserving of thy Resurrection to immortal life. Wherefore, we praise thee, crying, Hosanna in the highest, blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord.

  • Kontakion for Palm Sunday (Tone 4)
In Heaven He is seated upon a Throne and on earth He rides upon a foal. O Christ our God, accept the praise of the Angels and the hymn of the children who cry out to You, "Blessed are You who come to recall Adam."

Epistle: Philippians 4:4-9
Gospel: John 12:1-18

Palm Sunday
(The entrance of our Lord Jesus Christ to Jerusalem)

It was a custom of the Jewish people to greet high ranking officials with the palm branches. After He raised Lazarus form the dead, the Jews believed that Jesus was coming as the expected Messiah. They thought He would free them from the Roman Soldiers.
On Sunday, five days before the Passover of the law, Jesus entered Jerusalem on the back of a donkey, people greeted Him with palm branches in theirs hands and spread their cloaks before Him on the road as a sign of respect and victory. They cried out: “Hosanna in the Highest, blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.” The word Hosanna means “Save, I pray,” or “Save, now.”

Palm Sunday is the beginning of our journey to Holy Pascha.

The Holy Week:

The last week of Christ’s earthly life is called Passion Week or Holy Week.
In the Orthodox churches the services that are held on the evening of Palm Sunday, Holy Monday and Holy Tuesday are called the Bridegroom Services.

Sunday evening:
Theme: ( Kindness and love for Christ)
We commemorate the story of Joseph, the beloved son of Jacob, who was betrayed by his brothers and was sold into slavery. After much suffering, there came triumph for him in Egypt. He is an image of Christ. Also the Gospel reading gives us the example of the barren fig tree that was cursed and withered. What does not bear fruit in Christ will be destroyed. The Kingdom is coming and those who are not ready will be left out. It connects us to the past which is the Old Testament and the future that is our own lives.

Holy Monday evening:
Theme: (preparation)
We commemorate the parable of the ten virgins. We should not forget about the end of our life. We should be prepared at every moment, like the wise virgins, not like the virgins who were not prepared. Whereby, Jesus told them to go back because they were not ready to meet the Lord. Remember, that we as Christians should be ready and prepared always in our Christian life because we never know when the Bridegroom (Christ) will come.

Holy Tuesday evening:
Theme: (Repentance)
We commemorate the events of the anointing of our Lord by a sinful woman, who anointed Jesus with precious myrrh and washed His feet with her hair. Her action of love is in contrast to that of Judas who betrayed the Master for thirty pieces of silvers. Because the betrayal took place on Wednesday, we have received the tradition to fast on Wednesday throughout the year. It is time to reflect upon our sinfulness and ask for repentance.

Holy Wednesday evening (Holy Unction):
Theme: Healing
The Sacrament of Holy Unction, one of the seven sacraments of the Church is celebrated this day. It signifies healing for every sick person. Worshippers are anointed with the sanctified oil for the healing of body and soul.

Holy Thursday evening:
Theme: The Holy Passion of Christ-Crucifixion
We celebrate the Holy Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. He willingly endured the cross and the Death to take away our sins and save us. As we listen to the twelve Gospel readings in which we experience the entire story of his suffering and crucifixion. The Hymns we here focus on a great contrast. Christ, who is our God, is treated as a lowly criminal. Each of the Hymns compares ideas of Christ’s glory with details of His suffering. After the fifth Gospel reading, the Procession of the Cross takes place inside the Church while we sing:

Holy Thursday Evening (The 15th Antiphon)

Today is suspended upon the Tree, He who suspended the land upon the waters.
Today is suspended upon the Tree, He who suspended the land upon the waters.
Today is suspended upon the Tree, He who suspended the land upon the waters.
A crown of thorns crowns Him, who is the King of the angels.
He is wrapped in the purple robe of mockery, who wraps the heavens with clouds.
He receives smitings, who freed Adam in the Jordan.
He is tranfixed with nails, Who is the Son of the Virgin.
We worship Thy passion, O Christ.
We worship Thy passion, O Christ.
We worship Thy passion, O Christ.
Show us also Thy glorious resurrection!

Holy Friday evening:
Theme: Lamentations
The lamentations tell of the passion, death and burial of Christ but with the assurance and joy of His coming Resurrection. The faithful follow in a procession of the Epitaphios around the Church singing “Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy upon us.” On that night Christ confronts death, we learn that we are all made for life. He has filled it with life; He has taken its power and transformed death from a tragedy and into a joyful new beginning by his death.

Holy Saturday Evening:
Theme: Resurrection
At midnight, the Church is darkened, the Priest is standing before the Holy Altar, lights a white candle from the eternal vigil light; Everyone joins together as the light is passed to each person in the church; and exiting from the Royal Doors, We celebrate Christ’s glorious Resurrection holding the candles high and singing:
“Christ is risen from the death, O Christ is risen from the death, trampling down death by death and upon those in the tombs bestowing life.”

This is the Day of all Days and the Feast of Feast!
Pascha Sunday (Vespers): we will read the Gospel in many languages to show or to tell the good news of Christ’s saving resurrection is for all people in the world.

Did you know?
In the Orthodox Church, it is a custom to greet each other from the day of resurrection until Ascension Day by saying: Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!

Some of the Paschal greetings in different languages are:
English: Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!
Slavonic: Kristos Voskresey! Voyistino Voskresey!
Ukrainian: Hrystos voskres! Voistiny voskres!
Russian: Kristos voskres! Voistiny voskres!
Romanian: Kristos A Inviat! Adeverat A Inviat!
Arabic: Al Maseeh Qam! Haqan Qam!
Serbian: Hristos Voskresie! Voistsinu Vaskrse
Greek: Kristos Anesti! Alithos Anesti!
Albanian: Krishti Eshte Gjalle

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